The National Championships continued on March 26 with a 15km classic race. Our wax tech, Alain, nailed the skies and the Yukon had one of its best days ever at the Nationals: six medals.
I continued racing in top form and made the A final in the classic sprint. I got to enjoy a much-needed day of rest before the 50km skate race.
During that race, the course turned from ice to slush in the two hours and 10 minutes it took to complete. At about 30 kilometres my legs started to cramp up, a feeling I would compare to walking on stilts with a really bad head rush. I finished, but I can’t say much else.
Nationals were over but skiing wasn’t over yet, not for me anyway. I changed my plane ticket at the last minute and hitched a ride down to California.
I made my way through Washington, Oregon, and Nevada, all the way to Truckee, California where I checked into a hotel.
I didn’t have long to get comfortable before the racing action started. In order for a place like California to have snow in April it’s got to be at altitude. Racing at 2,300 metres is like breathing through a straw. I gasped for air and my legs felt like tree trunks in the race so I was surprised to see the results.
One Hundred of the U.S.’s best skiers were behind me and I was second only to one.
Confidence high, I went into the next race looking for another podium. However, I couldn’t hold on to the lead pack and I fell back a few positions.
The next day we raced the classic sprint. I qualified in 19th and moved up to 8th in the heats. Not too shabby for such a competitive field.
The final race of the weekend was a hill climb. At a downhill resort we scrambled our way up the 45-degree mountain slopes in blizzard conditions. Moving that slowly and breathing that hard is rather humiliating and I was never so happy to flop down over the finish line.
Between races I’ve been scrambling to find out how I’m getting to the race site; where I will stay; how I’m getting home; and how I’ll pay for it all. Maybe I’ll catch a bus to Vancouver, maybe a train, or perhaps I’ll find a cheap flight. Not knowing where I’m going, or what I’m doing is becoming a familiar feeling. One thing’s for sure, I can’t wait to come home in time to go ice fishing.